MEDIA STATEMENT: FOREIGN POLICY IN REGARDS TO CAMBODIA'S ELECTION PRACTICES After enduring decades of unfair election practices in Malaysia, we finally succeeded in regime change by winning the historic 14th general election. I believe that we, as a new government owe a duty not only to reform our own election laws to safeguard justice and uphold democracy, but that we go further and promote and safeguard free and fair elections in the ASEAN region. In particular, I want to draw the ministry’s attention to recent political developments in Cambodia. The international community and human rights NGOs are very concerned about the recent dissolution of the main opposition political party, the Cambodia National Rescuing Party (CNRP), and the ban on its members from politics for the next five years. I am aware that there are foreign external influences that are enabling the current Cambodian government to suppress democracy. I am also aware that in ASEAN, there is a rule of non-interference in domestic affairs of its members. However, this rule of non-interference should have limits. Given our history of democratic struggle, we are duty bound to encourage more open and progressive democratic practices in the region. To that end, I urge the Malaysian government to take a more proactive stance on Cambodia in the same way we took a proactive stance against the Myanmar government on the Rohingya refugee issue under the Najib administration. I urge the Minister of Foreign Affairs to:
State the government’s official position on Cambodia and in particular in relation to the recent crackdown on opposition politicians;
Set up a panel of experts to chart a more proactive foreign policy in promoting human rights and free and fair elections; and
Share with us what steps that may be taken to promote free and fair elections and safeguard democracy in ASEAN.
I hope that the Minister will look seriously into this matter and reply accordingly.
YB Wong Chen
Member of Parliament for Subang
18 July 2018